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Keynote Address During the IEST Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon

The 737Max Investigations: A Perspective from an NTSB Industry Partner

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 12:15 - 1:30 p.m. 
William (Bill) Kunik

Collins Aerospace Avionics

As the original equipment manufacturer of the Angle of Attack sensor that was identified as the cause of two tragic Boeing 737Max aircraft accidents in the last 18 months, I led a team to support both the Lion Air and Ethiopia Air accident investigations.

In the course of investigation these highly visible tragedies our team had to separate itself from the oversight of internal management and the significant media exposure to develop a fact based root cause that could support the independent investigators in the USA and Indonesia. The talk will focus on how an industry partner can support this type of work while dealing with the significant internal organizational pressures centered on legal liability, company reputation, and information control. At the same time the team was navigating the internal disruptions, the external media made many attempts to cull information from the larger organization and even down to individual team members. The desire to set the media “straight” about the misinformation was great within the team but needed to be contained.

The major topics to be covered:

1. How did the team develop the Angle of Attack erroneous behavior casual theory
2. How did the team deal with the internal organizational pressure and not let this taint the investigation
3. How impactful was the external media’s desire to get the “Big Story” on the investigation to the team’s root cause investigation
4. A perspective on how to manage and deal with high visibility external investigations like the 737Max within your organization and come out stronger for it

 

About the Speaker

Bill is currently a senior technical fellow for the Collins Aerospace Avionics business unit.  Bill also is leading the Aero Thermal Fluids discipline within Collins Aerospace His primary area of expertise is the architectural design and system performance of air data, stall protection and ice detection systems for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Bill has 37 years in the aerospace industry (NASA, Goodrich and United Technologies Corporation).

He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from the University of Minnesota and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Toledo.  Bill has 5 U.S. patents and 2 pending patent applications in pressure and flow sensor technology.  Bill also has 5 publications in technical areas of computational fluid mechanics and ice detection (AIAA Aerospace Sciences, SAE Aerospace America and Journal of Propulsion and Power).  This technology focus on air data sensing has led to implementation of state-of-the-art designs for basic helicopter systems to complex manned/unmanned vehicle air data systems. Bill also developed ice detection and flow angle sensing products for various commercial and military aircraft platforms.

Bill’s current focus is on broadening the capabilities and methods of the Aero Thermal Fluids discipline within Collins Aerospace and on new technology development for air data, ice detection and engine sensing product lines.